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December 2013 weather review for Grand Rapids

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December 2013 will be remembered for the cold, ice and snow. The high temperatures were colder than normal. The average high was 31.35° which is 3.45° below average. The low temperatures for the month were also below average. The average low temperature was 20.84° which is 2.66° below average. The average temperature for the month, which includes both the highs and lows, was 26.10° which is 3.05° below average.

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December was a wet month with Grand Rapids observing 2.70 inches, which was 0.20 inches above average. Measurable precipitation occurred on 21 of the 31 days. Some of the liquid precipitation fell on a frozen ground the weekend before Christmas creating a massive ice storm. According to Consumers Energy the Dec. 21 “storm has caused 409,000 outages, or nearly 23 percent of the utility’s 1.8 million electric customers.” Right after that, heavy snow fell across part of Lower Michigan adding to the travel problems. In addition to the Christmas snowfall there was a round of heavy snow earlier in the month.

The December snowfall in Grand Rapids was certainly persistent. At the airport, snowfall of at least a trace was recorded on 23 of the 31 days. A total of 34.7 inches fell which is 12.8 inches above average. This makes December 2013 the seventh snowiest December ever recorded for Grand Rapids. Below is the list of the top ten snowiest Decembers. Notice that 5 of the top 10 were in the just last few years.

Rank Year Amount
1 2000 59.2”
2 2008 54.6"
3 2001 53.9”
4 1951 51.3”
5 2009 35.4”
6 1983 34.8”
7 2013 31.7”
8 1970 33.3”
9 1985 30.7”
10 1978 30.0”

With all the Snow December was a cloudy month with 16.4% of possible sunshine. In a typical December we see 20% so that makes last month 3.6% below average.

See the images on the top of this story for more on the December weather.

Some of the cold and snow from December may linger into January.

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